The cases are the first appearances of the virus in New York state this year and affected residents from three different towns, officials said.
Holmes said the virus is rare — more than 1,200 ticks in the county have been routinely tested by DOH's Wadworth Lab in Albany since 2000, and none carried Powassan.
There have been only 24 cases of Powassan in the entire state over than time, prior to the current cases — and over that same time, tens of thousands of people have been diagnosed with the much-more-common Lyme disease infection.
The patient in the second confirmed case is being treated in a local hospital, Holmes said — while in the third case, still unconfirmed but considered probable, the patient was treated and was released from the hospital.
The Health Department said the best tips for avoiding Powassan are the same as for avoiding Lyme disease, precautions it has been asking people to follow for decades: Use tick repellents, wear long sleeves and light-colored pants, avoid bushy and wooded areas, and do thorough tick checks after spending time outdoors.